The Golden State Warriors got crushed by the Phoenix Suns on Thursday night, 120-98, to send them into the All-Star break on a three-game skid. It was a predictable blowout loss, seeing as how the Dubs were without Steph Curry, Draymond Green, and Kelly Oubre Jr.
Still, Golden State made it pretty fun, thanks in large part to a breakout game from Jordan Poole.
Let’s see how the Dubs did with their pregame keys to victory, which were admittedly written before I realized they’d be shorthanded.
Keep Booker in check
The key: Don’t let Devin Booker go ballistic.
The outcome: The Warriors actually did really well here, as Devin Booker shot just 6-for-20 from the field, and finished with 16 points. The Suns outscored the Dubs by just a single point during Booker’s 30 minutes, as opposed to the 21 points they outscored Golden State by in the 18 minutes when Booker was on the bench.
All things considered, the Warriors did a great job on Phoenix’s sharpshooting All-Star.
Grading they key: 9.5 out of 10.
Get Curry some help
The key: Get offensive help from someone — anyone — other than Steph Curry.
The outcome: It didn’t come form Andrew Wiggins as you might expect. It didn’t come from James Wiseman or Eric Paschall, either. But the Warriors did get a standout offensive performance from someone not named “Steph Curry,” which is good, because the person who is named “Steph Curry” didn’t travel with the team to Phoenix.
Jordan Poole had a career-high 26 points, and needed just 16 shots to get there. He shot 5-for-10 from deep and, just as importantly, 5-for-6 from inside the arc. The second-year guard had some tremendous highlights, and scored from all over the field.
26 Points (career-high)— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) March 5, 2021
10-16 from the field
5-10 from beyond the arc
Jordan Poole got buckets in Phoenix ️ pic.twitter.com/36hRrQpSgK
Now in fairness he probably wouldn’t have had that performance — or the minutes — if Curry were playing. But it still hit the key.
Grading the key: 8.5 out of 10.
Keep the energy
The key: Don’t be deflated and low on energy despite the rough loss and travel schedule.
The outcome: The Warriors had every reason to roll over and play dead. They had played the night before, and lost a heartbreaker. They had arrived in Phoenix sometime around 3 a.m. They were without their best players, and playing the hottest team in the NBA.
But they did the opposite, and kept the game close for far longer than anyone expected.
Now, to be fair, anything less would have been disappointing. The Warriors gave big minutes to young players trying to earn roles, and if they didn’t give 110% it would have looked really bad. But still — the Warriors competed hard for 48 minutes, and that was nice to see.
Grading the key: 9 out of 10.
All things considered, the Warriors actually played pretty darn well. They were just on the road against a team that has now won 16 of their last 19 games, all while missing their three players who are playing the best basketball.
Sometimes you do your best and it’s not enough. Sometimes it’s not even close.